The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced backing for a pair of technologies which could soon eliminate the use of infuriating 'robocall' mass-dialling tools.
The FTC said that its $50,000 competition prize money would be split between two separate projects. It ran the competition looking for idea aimed at thwarting the automatic dialling platforms popularly used to make automated 'robocall' solicitations without customer permission.
The first project will use a set of techniques commonly employed by security vendors to block malware in the PC space. The plan - from Serdar Danis - calls for the establishment of 'whitelist' number lists from trusted sources and 'blacklist' exclusion lists which automatically block known robocall numbers.
By using the lists in combination with a Captcha-style number input system, the platform would help to minimise the effectiveness of robocall tools by dramatically reducing their ability to get through to consumers.
The second proposal, developed by Aaron Foss, would see the establishment of a 'Nomorobo' cloud service which would aim to catch robocalls as they are being placed. The service would use a 'simultaneous ringing' system to shift calls into a secondary phone line aimed at catching and disconnecting automated calls.
The plans will each receive $25,000 in funding from the FTC. Additionally, the FTC issued an award to a series of Google engineers for their plan of a crowdsourced system for tracking down robocalls. That project will not receive FTC funding, however.
"The solutions that our winners came up with have the potential to turn the tide on illegal robocalls, and they show the wisdom of tapping into the genius and technical expertise of the public," said FTC bureau of consumer protection acting director Charles Harwood.
"We’re hoping these winning proposals find their way to the marketplace soon, and will provide relief to millions of American consumers harassed by these calls."
While the plans are currently based out of the US, should they prove successful such technologies would most likely be employed around the world as a means for catching and blocking the use of robocall platforms.
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